I Love You
I watched my wife slip my wedding ring on her finger. I'd come home after she'd been to the funeral parlor and had taken the ring off my finger there.
Somehow, even though I had passed from my body, I felt more attachment to that old wooden ring than to the corpse I was leaving behind.
I remembered when we had first made them. God, I felt tears come to my soul's eyes. We couldn't afford gold bands when we first got married. Well, we could but not the kind that I wanted her to have. I wanted to give her a huge diamond, with emeralds, rubies and pearls. I wanted to put the moon in a setting to give to her.
We decided to wait until we could afford the rings we wanted to give each other. In the meantime, we decided to make each other's rings. Lol, it was a real challenge getting the right size.
After getting the right sizes for each other we took them home to work on them.
I worked weeks making vines, tiny flowers, trying to keep the surface smooth, yet engraving my pattern around the outside. The inside I engraved a troth for my wife to be.
About a week before the wedding we showed them to each other. Lol, somehow without consulting each other we had made matching rings. The only difference being hers had tiny flowers, mine had tiny little bees.
I watched her as she rubbed the ring now. Worn smooth with time. Shiny from years of wear, I could almost feel it's warmth on my skin. It had felt warm too. As though all the unconditional love we had exchanged through the years had somehow permeated the rings themselves.
I watched Anna taking my ring and slipping it over her ring finger she eased it down until it covered her ring that was it's twin.
Anna opened the special little box we had bought a few years back when we had decided we would finally get those fancy rings we had always talked about. A little wooden branch split in half with a swivel hinge to let the top swing open. Inside was two places for rings. Man and wife, hers and mine were meant to rest there. Inside the little box were two bright, shiny rings that had only been worn once.
I remember the day when those rings had finally come. We had a party, a celebration. All our friends and family had came. It was a triumph. That night after everyone left neither one of us felt right with the new ones on. We decided to put them up to wear for 'good' and slipped back on our wooden rings. We never took the new ones out again.
I watched Anna now as she looked at the new rings, her ring, my ring.
Anna seemed to come to a decision. She closed the little box and put it back in the nightstand drawer where it had always been. Picking up her purse she walked out of the house with, what seemed to be, resolution. I think I saw a handkerchief, though I'm not really sure.
I watched as she re-entered the funeral parlor. No one else was around now.
Anna went back to my coffin where I lay with an open lid. Reaching inside the box, Anna took my hand and slipped my ring back on my finger.
Now as Anna turned to go once more the words engraved inside our rings, which neither of us had consulted the other about, came to my mind, “Until death and beyond” and I knew it was true. After thirty-five years of marriage, I fell in love with Anna all over again. I would wait. I had time. I would wait.
Anna joined me! We were standing together! She looked toward the front of the church where I had just seen her go. I ran to the door. I looked back at Anna. I looked forward at Anna.
“Anna, you must go back to your body,” I told her.
“What good is life without you? That body is done,” Anna moved close to me, our hands entwined. We both looked at our rings. No one noticed Anna had fallen on the steps of the church. We had outlived our time.
Our spirits seemed to swirl together. Little, golden sparkles resembling the ice in a comet's tail swirled among us.
And we were gone.